To be honest, I don’t remember how it all began. Probably, that’s because my first mountaineering experience was, let’s say, like if I started with a trump card.
I’d say there were circumstances that led me to Tibet, where I ended up on Mount Kailash. To hike around this mountain is a dream for any Tibetan. This walking circuit is called ‘kora’ or ‘parikrama’.
The road to Mount Kailash took us a whole week by jeep, we spent nights in guest houses. Eventually we get to this Kailash Mountain with an absolute height of 6,638 meters, and we made a hike around it. This sacred circumambulation, or parikrama, is 53 kilometers long, it takes two nights and three days.
I remember reading Ernst Muldashev’s book ‘Searching the Gods’ City’ before this trip. I was inspired by the story of the golden plates, about samatha, the numbers 66, about sixes, about Kailash. I met a girl Sveta Pasha, she headed a travel company, they were planning an expedition to Kailash. They had one seat available and invited me to join. Then we climbed 5,500 meters with one pass. I think it was the first time I was at such a height. And it wasn’t just an ascent, but more of a spiritual journey that remained in memory as an unforgettable experience.
A few years later I went to Mont Blanc, the highest European mountain with the height of 4,809 meters. We managed to reach 4,300 meters, and it was the hardest ascent in my life, both emotionally and physically. After that, I wanted to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro.
In 2013, I went to Kilimanjaro, whose height is 5,881 meters. The climb was relatively easy and the views were beautiful. Then, naturally, after the highest mountain in Europe, the highest mountain in Africa, the highest mountain in Tibet, I wanted to climb Everest. I even started training with the group that was going to climb Mount Everest with a Russian filmmaker Valdis Pelsh. And then my close friend and spiritual mentor told me that I shouldn’t go. I hesitated if I should go there as there was a certain risk and in the end I decided to follow the advice and canceled the expedition. When the group came there preparing for the climb, a huge earthquake started, with many people died in the region. Fortunately, no one from the group I was supposed to go with, was injured. But climbing was banned that year.
In general, I want to say that mountaineering gives you an amazing feeling, because after you’ve reached the summit, you feel like you’ve got some kind a ‘shield’ or ‘protective cover’. Mountains give you so much energy that you feel protected from everything bad in the world. After climbing, for a while you feel harmony and peace, and then, unfortunately, all this gradually vanishes.